Andy Biersack is in the Rock Sound 50! Here he talks about what's changed and why he keeps himself so busy.
WHAT’S CHANGED FOR YOU OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS?
Says Andy: “When you’re young, you can only see what’s right in front of you. That’s one of the reasons young art is so beautiful and visceral, because you’re so in the moment and why people’s first records sound so true.
"What perspective does is it kinda softens you to all the things you thought were the most important in the world. As we continued on there has been such an interesting ideological and political shift in the country we’re from and honestly around the world, that the relevance of being true to yourself and fighting against the power and not letting people corrupt you is true whether you’re 35 years old working a corporate job or you’re 13 going to high school.
"We’ve never had to change the content, so to speak. We’ve never had to pander. My lyrical feelings have changed to fit my life more. I’m not fighting against the guy who’s talking shit and throwing beer at us so much as I’m fighting against the feelings that I still have or that bother me in some way.
"The truth is I had the same feelings of anxiety and loneliness as a lot of artists had. I used to just channel them into being a drunken asshole and flip people off on stage. As I get older, that’s not something I’m as interested in. I’m more interested in being true to those feelings, being more in touch with them and writing about them. Because I have a wife, a home, responsibilities and many joys in my life that are genuine, I don't feel the need to act out in every moment.
"But those feelings still exist. Politically it’s a very divisive time in my country. People are at each others’ throat and there’s a lot of crazy shit going on. That’s as relevant a thing to need music for. Just as a human being. There’s always a reason for rebellion. That’s what rock ‘n’ roll is all about. I can listen to Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born To Run’ and it still makes me feel like I want to get in my car and drive really fast, even if I’m having a really great night and everything’s going well and it’s a quiet night at home. If I put on those songs I’m still fucking hyped up. That’s why you keep making art the way you do.
"If we ever did pander, it was never intentional. And it’s certainly something I’ve tried my best, as I’ve gotten older to really be genuine to my ideals…”
IT WOULD BE LAME IF YOU WERE STILL TRYING TO WRITE LIKE YOU WERE 16, PEOPLE WOULD SEE THROUGH THAT...
“I think there’s a lot of that around though. One of my biggest pet peeves is selling loneliness to lonely people. Around the time Black Veil started getting popular, there was a wave of bands who came through who seemed like they were being told, ‘Sell this ideal to young people’ and write songs about lonely kids. It was frustrating at the time. You don't see it so much now because it’s not so in vogue.”
IT’S TELLING THOSE COPYISTS FELL AWAY THOUGH WHILE YOU’VE SURVIVED…
“Like you said, people can see through. One of the things people misunderstood early on was the feeling of self-pride for being too egotistical.
"One of the only magazine things I have in the house my wife and I moved into together in 2011, is a Rock Sound Black Veil Brides cover. I have that framed because it’s an interesting snapshot of our youth, and one of the pages there’s a headline that’s me saying, ‘I believe we will change music’. This was early in our career. It's interesting because I walk by that and sometimes I laugh at myself. But in some ways, I think we have been able to aid the shift in alternative rock.
"We’re amongst a generation of bands that have helped carry the genre. It’s why bands like Pierce The Veil and All Time Low are still incredibly popular and almost become more popular by the day, because they’ve been an important contribution to the genre. Or look at someone like Brendon from Panic! At The Disco – obviously on a different scale to myself in terms of popularity – but he comes from the world we all come from.
"While it might be said that Black Veil didn’t directly change the scope or history of music, when it comes to our genre and this feeling of an army of friends in a safe place, I like to think we were very instrumental in moving the genre along. And maybe that’s me saying another crazy, braggadocios thing, but to me it seems genuine. But I don’t give a shit. I am after all the guy that claimed our second record was better than anything Led Zeppelin ever did! At this point, me saying we’ve been instrumental is mild!”
PEOPLE DEFINITELY ALLOW YOU TO SAY SUCH THINGS MORE FREELY THESE DAYS, ALMOST LIKE THEY UNDERSTAND YOU BETTER NOW. WOULD YOU AGREE?
“Yeah, I think they’re a little more ‘in on’ my feelings towards myself these days. I’m constantly self-deprecating because I find it all to be a little bit funny. But I do believe in everything I’m saying, which is an interesting tightrope to walk.”
SO YOU HAVE VANS WARPED TOUR, THE BLACK VEIL BRIDES ALBUM IS DONE, YOU’VE GOT AMERICAN SATAN COMING AND YOU SEEM TO BE HEADING INTO ANOTHER REALLY BUSY PERIOD. ARE YOU EVER GOING TO TAKE A HOLIDAY?
“I mean what the hell else am I going to do? I don't have any education!
"The truth is it’s romantic to think, ‘Oh this guy just can’t stop working!’ but I don't have any other way of surviving, making an income. Just on a surface level, I have a life and responsibilities that I have to maintain. But equally, I’m obsessed with doing stuff. There’s always a little bit of a dark cloud that hangs over my head that through doing stuff I’ve been able to knock away. But through periods of inactivity, it starts to come back and I start to feel like I need a purpose.
"Doing stuff, writing songs, playing shows, being creative is my purpose. All that stuff is the reason I get up in the morning, in terms of my career. And then my wife and my family – to me it’s not mutually exclusive, it's one and the same – my wife is a musician, we talk about music constantly, we write together. All of the bands I got into because of my family. I talk to my mom and my dad about records they should get into.
"To me, music and art and entertainment is all one and the same. If I’m working on my comedy show every week, I’m working with my cousin, and my best friend since 2006. It’s all family and life wrapped into one. It’s hard for me to see it any other way. What the hell am I supposed to do, take a vacation? I guess at some point I would love to, but the truth of the matter is, if you’re lucky enough to get to do what you love in the world then just shut up and do it. Paul Stanley once said something in an interview I read when I was a kid that stuck with me and it changed my life. It’s a very simple sentence but it means a lot to me. He said, ‘If you’re lucky enough to become President, don't complain about having to wear a tie.’”